This roundabout route home holds no magic for me

Anglesea Hospital sign, Ipswich

Anglesea Hospital sign, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

With Travel Ipswich making her motoring life a nightmare, Lynne finds there are still bits of old Ipswich that seem untouchable.

I do understand the need to make Ipswich town centre pedestrian friendly. I do, I really do. And I realise that increasing levels of traffic need to be factored into road planning. I do, I really do,

But living where I do and owning a car is beginning to make me feel I may have to relocate. My house is usually accessible by road via Soane Street (that’s the one that runs past the bottom gates of Christchurch Park) and up Bolton Lane. No traffic lights.

As Soane Street is part of the Travel Ipswich initiative, it is currently shut off to traffic (estimated to re-open at the end of February) and the signposted diversion would dearly love to take me through five or six sets of traffic lights (St Margaret’s Green west; Argyle Street; St Helen’s Street/Bond Street; St Helen’s Street/Regent; Majors Corner; St Margaret’s Green east).

It essentially forms a gigantic roundabout and can add 10-15 minutes more to journey time depending on the amount of traffic.

Normally, I would, being a’Ipswich girl, and therefore pretty resilient, just grin and bear it.

But Soane Street was also closed off for a long time in 2012. This time round, I’m sorry to say I have grown horns and fangs.

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The nearer I move to the town, the further away I seem to get.

In fact, I have taken to driving up High Street to get home and it was while I was driving along this route that I came upon a, presumably long forgotten sign (pictured), directing me to Anglesea Road Hospital.

The former hospital building is one of the landmarks of Ipswich. As you approach the town from the A12, it can be seen atop the hill to the north of the town, a grand facade.

But that hent bin a horspital for quoit some tie-um. It is now Anglesea Heights Residential & Nursing Home.

According to the National Archives hospital records database, Ipswich Hospital’s Anglesea Road Wing closed c1985, after 150 years during which time it had also been known as East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital and Dispensary and, later, East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital.

The Suffolk Record Office holds much of the paperwork including: “Reports and papers accumulated by Dr Sleigh, Medical Officer of Health to Samford RDC, 1910, relating to an outbreak of plague at Freston.” This small village suffered the last outbreak of bubonic plague in England.

So, for the last 28 years, a sign pointing to a hospital where there is no hospital has stood at the top of High Street.

Meanwhile, as Soane Street is beautified, some of the buildings along St Margaret’s Street are in dire need of tlc and, while the demolished garage at the bottom of Bolton Lane was not pretty, it was rather more interesting and attractive than the new and ghastly chipboard hoardings that now fence off the site.

Have artists been instructed? I hope so.